Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Initial thoughts on Frostgrave


Fortunately I have had to take some holiday (otherwise I would lose it) so yesterday my good friend John came round to the shed to introduce me to Frostgrave.

Sadly the camera wasn’t available but in this post I’ll layout some of my initial thoughts after two games.

I chose an Elementalist as my Wizard – his starting spells – Elemental Bolt, Elemental Barrier, Wall, Enchant Weapon, Summon Demon, Crumble, Blinding Light and Furious Quill. With the exception of Elemental Barrier I used them all during the two games we played.

In terms of my forces I had an Apprentice, two thieves, an Archer, A Ranger, A knight and a War PIG (hound). The balance seemed to work.

I was facing Johns 4th Level Wizard and the disparity between the two was not too great. Indeed some fortuitous Bolt spells (don’t you love that +8 shooting attack) soon fried as number of his troops and in both games I walked off with 4 of the six treasure tokens. The net result 700 XP earned in two games and seven levels of experience. 

Great Fun ! Some lovely moments and lots of atmosphere. However I am concerned about how fast you can level up.
Simply: The rate of levelling is too fast !

These are my thoughts…
Reduce the number of treasure points – potentially to four. Also make them further away than the base line. This reduces the number of treasure tokens and hence experience on the table

Increase the rate of Levelling from 100 to 150 XP per level

Based on these my Wizard would probably be around the 4th Level and not 7th

Some other thoughts…

Personally I don’t like the idea that all characters can climb – we had a number of levels in our game. The idea a Knight in mail and shield can start climbing walls feels so wrong.

Perhaps only Rangers, Thieves, Barbarians etc have the scaling ability.

Plus I managed to summon an Imp (with Wings) – There appears to be no rules for flying creatures so any creature with flight can ascend the highest points with no penalty and suffer no damage from falling.

I’d also like to see the treasure harder to get – locked chests/traps etc – perhaps there could be %chance that treasure is trapped/locked? Again these could be removed by Thieves/Treasure Hunters (Will roll)  or Forced Open (Fight Roll). This would stop single figures from running up grabbing the loot and running away. Each item should be hotly contested.

Death – it would appear that all characters have the chance to recover at the end of the game and ready to fight the next day (assuming they get the right roll) – perhaps any character that drops to -3 or further is beyond recovery. This makes cash more valuable to restocking your warband  

We also has a scenario where my Ranger took down a magic item laden Apprentice – can he loot the body? There is no reference to this. Perhaps this is a good option – it allows certain characters to target the opposition for those choice goodies, also makes players think more tactically.

These are my initial thoughts but will no doubt change as we progress with this great game…




  1. I haven't played, but I'm not sure that the 100xp/level is too big a problem as you can only improve one stat or spell per level. Rather than changing the xp/level (100 is a nice, round number) perhaps adjust the loot tables to reduce the coins?

    Good thought about looting bodies.

  2. Interesting points. I've played a couple of games myself.
    I think there's a trade-off between realism and simplicity (isn't there always with wargames rules?) The rules are very simple to learn/play, and so things like climbing, flying etc will be left out to a degree.
    Actually the rules state that climbing is basically at half movement, so it is touched upon.
    Recovery - personally no problems with a swift recovery. There's still an element of risk but it must be heartbreaking to have a good warband half killed off during a campaign.
    Looting the body - any treasure tokens are dropped, so they can be picked up. The rules state, IIRC, that any magical items are lost with the figure. You could probably house rule something - one action to search and a dice role to determine what you find?
    Fast levelling - this has caused a lot of debate. Some are happy with the rate, others not so. I'm in the former camp. After 2 games I'm at level 5 - there are still hundreds of variables in the game that could potentially balance out any disparity between me and my opponent,
    Glad you enjoyed it though - I did too!

  3. And to add something - monsters really make treasure hunting more dangerous and taking treasures is less trivial with them in game...

  4. I do enjoy Frostgrave, but I think the game suffers from the loose campaign system. I've got my group playing with the Bad Karma changes:


  5. I haven't played yet, but these are interesting points and i will be considering them when we do get around to it.

  6. You do make some interesting points. But remember they are all based on the Elementalist wizard who tend to have lots of shooty spells not all wizards do have all that many shooty spells. The Elementalist player at our club has yet to survive 2 games in a row. This is because if you can see me to cast a spell aggressively. If you succeed or Fail EVERYTHING In my warband is going to target you the Instant they can. Other classes such as witch may have lots of pre game spells and altering the xp / level ratio may either make them more or less powerful.

    But your points are all things to think about. Personally I would prefer 2d10 to 1 d20 but that is personal choice. And it is your game so as long as you ALL are having fun that is the main thing.

  7. I think the leveling process works fine for Wizards I do want soldiers fleshed out more.

    1. There's mention of something like that in an upcoming expansion, where you get a captain, so at least one soldier who can level up and do funkier things. If you did it for all though, it'd be a very different game. Too different maybe.

  8. I to have managed to get a couple fo games in, and find your thoughts interesting, as some of them mirror concerns other players in my group have had (re levellng)

    Some replies to the points you have made:

    Once you have a treasure, you move at half speed. This is something I did not do, and led to the treasures being off the table in no time!

    The locked chest idea does seem fun, but only for one or two, not all. Maybe there's a scenario idea in that one.

    The looting seems a fun one, but it could lead to hard feeling on the other side as you take their stuff. I guess this all depends on who you play against. I seem to remember something in the rules about losing items if you die, but not the other player getting a chance to take them.